College Prep Checklist for Seniors

Remember as a kid when you were asked to write a paragraph about what you wanted to do when you grew up? No pressure, but you’ve got one year to figure out what life after high school will be like! Before you panic, start with this college prep checklist for seniors.

New senior college prep checklist

You’ve got mail

If you haven’t already, you’ll probably soon be receiving stacks of mail from colleges and universities. Postcards. Booklets. Letters. Read carefully and sort them into three piles: I’m interested, I’m curious, and probably not.

Internet research

Find out more about the colleges in your “I’m interested” and “I’m curious” piles. Google for universities offering majors in what you are interested in studying. For example search for “best school for teacher education” or “best college in Northwest Ohio for social work.” Contact these colleges so they can provide you more personalized information.

Don’t be afraid to create a large list of ‘possible’ colleges. There are an amazing variety of colleges and universities. It’s good to get a broad view of your options before starting to narrow down your choices.

Social media

Follow the colleges you’re interested in on social media. You’ll learn more about the college, their students, faculty and values, and receive reminders of future events. You can always unfollow them later.

Campus visits

Take advantage of the slower pace of summer to visit colleges in person. You can learn much by reading mail, websites, tweets and posts. But it’s important to experience the campus atmosphere in person for yourself.

Financial aid calculator

All colleges provide merit-based scholarships determined by your GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Play with the financial aid calculator on various college websites. Plug in your current GPA and SAT/ACT scores to see what scholarships you would receive. See how much you would have to raise your GPA/ACT to qualify for a larger scholarship.

Don’t get sticker shock at the cost of a private university. For good students, oftentimes grants and scholarships will bring the cost down to near the price of a public university.

Job shadow

If you have an idea what you want to do “when you grow up,” contact someone in that career to learn more about what they do. Perhaps you want to be a chef. Contact a caterer or head chef in a restaurant. Ask them about their career, or job shadow, or even better get a summer job in the kitchen. You will discover whether this career is right for you. You’ll also be networking which will be very important after your college graduation.

With this preliminary research completed during the summer, you can enter your senior year ready to rule!

Bluffton University is a residential, liberal arts campus with 85 undergraduate majors, minors and programs; adult degree-completion programs in accounting, business management and RN to BSN; and master’s degrees in business management (MBA), organizational management and education.

Affiliated with Mennonite Church USA, the university is located in Northwest Ohio. It has an enrollment of around 1,000 students and has 16 NCAA Division III athletic teams. Bluffton’s enduring values of discovery, community, respect and service are woven into the academic program and campus life. Bluffton students go into the world prepared for life as well as for their chosen vocation.

By Sara Kisseberth
Web content manager